Slow Down, Mindful of Life’s Preciousness



Our hearts are broken over the lost of Nina Fitzpatrick. Our sympathy, while heartfelt, is little consolation for her friends and family.

We wish it were the case that tragedy was not a prerequisite for learning how precious and fragile life is, but it seems we have a difficult time with this lesson.

If we had learned this lesson, then we would have built a bridge for our student body. Or perhaps, short of a bridge, we would have installed a proper street light. Short of a proper street light, maybe a little extra signage would have helped, something indicating that you are entering a school zone, something indicating that students are crossing the street night and day.

But instead we installed this idiotic contraption, which appears to confuse even the well intended drivers. We do not need to see the statistics to know that this contraption does not, and has never, worked. It doesn’t prevent accidents. It doesn’t prevent students from getting run over. It doesn’t even facilitate a smooth flow of traffic. Rear-end collisions at this location are common place, near misses whether between cars or between cars and pedestrians, are accruing daily if not hourly.

The pathetic truth of this matter is quite simple; the loss of life at this location was an expected outcome. Laguna Canyon Road is a nothing short of an engineering failure, and this tragedy, is only another example of how poorly this road serves its users. Unless we take responsibility and action this horrific outcome will be repeated.

Easy solutions are elusive but doing the right thing as a community is non-negotiable.

So while the bureaucrats are sniffing their highlighters and looking at their charts, let’s crack the window and feel the cool ocean breeze touch our hearts. Let’s just ease down this mess of a road mindful of life’s preciousness.

Mark Garry, Laguna Beach


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  1. When is the last time you saw a roadway school-zone posted for 45mph where motorists drive 50? When is the last time you saw a cross-walk placed across a freeway? Laguna Beach is home to both at LCAD. “We are here to serve” says Caltran’s David Richardson. Instead of a traffic calming device Caltrans has served us a yellow chicken-strip, a roadrunner dare for pedestrians. Caltrans should comply with their own federal mandate (DD-64) and implement COMPLETE STREET POLICY on Laguna Canyon Road. Once again Caltrans fails to exercise their own directive in favor of conventional car-centric planning at the peril of pedestrians.


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